Welcome Happy Columbus Day! Is that a thing? Do people really say that? All I know is that my daughter is home from school today so I got a pleasant morning of sleeping in and I took advantage! Today’s topic is perseverance. I bet ol’ Chris had to have a lot of perseverance when he set out on his journey for the new world. It would have been very tempting to turn back at the first sign of difficulty, including running out of food and fresh water and a crew mutiny! Wow, our world would probably be very different had he given up easily. Our lives are like that, too, requiring perseverance to achieve great things.
Food For Thought According to my internet search, perseverance is defined as “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” I am certainly able to identify with that definition! Many times I must continue in something, even when it is hard and even if I’m not experiencing instant success.
When I was teaching, and still even now at my daughter’s school, character traits are taught each month. Included among the monthly character traits are kindness, honesty, courage, and perseverance. A lot of kids have to learn about being persistent in tasks and not giving up when things begin to get hard. I know we have to work on this with our own child. Some parts of math are difficult for her so she needs to practice extra hard at them. But who likes doing things that are hard? I don’t particularly enjoy it. It is our human nature to try and avoid things that make us uncomfortable or frustrate us. So many kids, and adults, use the phrase “I can’t do that.” We try to encourage kids to persevere and not give up, promising that things get easier if they just keep practicing. But as adults, do we take our own advice or do we give up too easily sometimes?
I can think of plenty of times as an adult when I have given up, probably too soon. I abandoned my Maser’s Degree program when I was half way through. I have a craft room full of projects that were started with great enthusiasm and now sit neglected due to time, money, or loss of interest. I was part of the Spark People healthy lifestyle program for three years, but couldn’t stick with it. I said it was because I didn’t have time, but I really think I was bored with it and the repetitive food menus. I’ve given up on certain sports at different times. We have given up on trying to get grass to grow in our front yard. We have relinquished our dream to turn our master bedroom into a Zen retreat. My biggest “throw my hands up in surrender” moment was when I quit my teaching job this year. I’m still dealing with the personal issues attached to that decision. But for all of the times I have given up, I can think of times when I have pushed through, even when it’s been hard, difficult, or challenging.
Personally, I think my biggest act of perseverance was training and running a half-marathon in 2013. For someone of my size and health, that was no small achievement and it certainly wasn’t easy. There were times I wondered if I could really do it and questioned my physical abilities. But they say running is as much an exercise of the mind as it is the body. I believe that, and there are few other times in my life that I can remember feeling as proud and accomplished as I did when I crossed that finish line. My husband and I are also hikers. No, not like the people in the picture, but we still like to tackle some “moderately-difficult” trails and peaks for the reward of the perfect vista or waterfall. Have we been on some trails that we questioned our endurance and stamina? Absolutely, but I can honestly say we have never once abandoned a hike, not through rain, seemingly endless incline, or lack of water (I don’t recommend that one, though). We just can’t bring ourselves to do all of that work and not see it through to the end. Doing this on a hike would leave us wondering, what did we miss? Life can be like that too. If we stop before we see the project through, we’ll wonder, did we miss something, possibly something wonderful? I would hate to throw in the towel right before God was about to bless me in the task at hand!
This is what I’ve been dealing with recently. My blog is not even four months old yet, and in blogging world, that means it’s just a baby still. But I have had some days that I wondered about packing it up already. I have heard this is very normal, and I’m sure it is. But like so many things in life, what happens in reality often doesn’t look like it did in our minds as we were planning and dreaming. I knew going into this I would have a lot of work to do. I knew that my genre was not everyone’s cup of tea. I gave myself six months to achieve my first goal and said I could not fairly say I tried my best before the first year was up. So I can’t give up yet. Especially since I feel so strongly that I had divine guidance to this new endeavor. How can I give up on a plan that I think was given to me from God? That would definitely show that I don’t trust Him or His plan. So I must persevere. I must deal with criticisms, slow traffic, technology difficulties, little to no income on my part, and long hours of preparation for each post. Don’t get me wrong, I really do like blogging. I like writing, a lot! I like my topics. I like making the recipes and finding new food trends. I like learning new skills. I especially like the idea of offering encouragement to just the right person at just the right time in their life. I have phenomenal support from my husband and daughter. The difficulty lies in not knowing where this trail leads. When I have a race to train for or a trail map to follow on a hike, I can prepare myself for how long it will take to accomplish and what types of obstacles I’m going to face along the way. Right now I have ventured into some unknown territory. I promise you, a year ago I would have had absolutely no clue that this is what I would be doing with my life right now! But knowing that God blesses those who persevere, I’m not ready to quit yet!
Today’s Recipe One thing I am trying to persevere with as I’m learning new skills is my cake decorating. It’s one thing to make a delicious dessert and serve it to your family and hear a chorus of “yum’s” and “mhmm’s”. It’s something else entirely to learn how to make cakes and desserts look so amazing that people will say…”she knows what she’s doing” and “I’d like to serve that at my event.” But not everyone has the talent or desire to make show-stopping cakes. I don’t always have the time, energy, or supplies to make those kind of desserts either. So today I have my Candy Corn Cake for you. I first saw this idea on Pinterest (of course) from Make-Fabulous-Cakes.com. She did use fondant in her decorating and I’m not into that so I tweaked it a little. And the design is going to be as unique as the person creating it. I’m telling you ANYONE can make this! It takes a little bit of time, but it’s EASY and FUN! It isn’t even homemade cake and icing. This is one of those cakes that you will make and take, and people will think you are super talented because it looks so artistic. Here’s what you need:
- Cooking Spray and flour for the pans
- 2 boxed white cake mixes
- 3 containers vanilla ready-to-spread frosting
- 6 eggs (don’t worry about separating the whites since we are tinting the batter)
- 1/2 cup oil
- 2 cups water
- red and yellow gel food color
- 2 packages of candy corn
- 1 package of M&M chocolate candies (we only used the browns for our design)
- 1 tube of black decorator gel (I used Betty Crocker, found on the baking aisle of most any grocery store)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and flour to prevent sticking; shake out any excess flour. With electric mixer combine cake mixes, eggs, oil, and water. Divide cake mix evenly between three bowls, about 2 1/2 cups of batter per bowl.
Add 5 drops of red gel food color and 35 drops of yellow gel food color to one bowl of batter and mix well. To the second bowl of batter add 25 drops of yellow gel food color and mix well. Leave third bowl plain. Spoon each bowl of batter into a prepared pan. Bake cakes at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
While cakes are cooling mix orange frosting. Place all three containers of vanilla frosting in large bowl. Add 5 drops of red gel food coloring and 30 drops of yellow gel food coloring. I left mine as vanilla flavored, but if you want to add orange flavoring to the frosting, simply stir in 1 teaspoon of orange extract. Mix well until desired color is achieved. After cakes have cooled completely, place orange layer on cake plate or stand.
Add some of the frosting to the orange layer, followed by the yellow cake layer, more frosting, and then the white layer. Continue to frost the top and sides of the cake.
To make designs on the cake, begin by placing a brown chocolate candy on the cake (I let my daughter help with this part.) Arrange candy corns around the brown circle in a flower shape. Continue to do this in any desired locations on the cake, including the sides.
Add a border around the bottom of the cake with candy corn. I alternated “pointing up” and “pointing down” candy corns for my border. Add some chocolate candy pieces in various spots on the cake. Finish the cake by adding decorative details with black gel icing. You could make flourishing lines or do what I did and just make dots in a random decorative pattern.
I used so many great tools to make this cake. I love my silicone cake pans and my Wilton frosting spatulas. I’m also starting to fall in love with decorative cake stands. I like to cut circles of tissue paper to place on the bottom of the cake stand, topped with circles of wax paper to add some decorative flair, but also protect my cake stand from becoming too sticky. When the cake is done, you throw away the papers and carefully wipe down the cake stand for the next use. Easy! (links verified 10/09/17 at 1:50 pm CDT)